Chicago Organizations Support "Arrest The Risk" Initiative To Educate African Americans About Deadly Impact Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Association of Black Cardiologists, Heart Rhythm Society, and the Monarch Awards Foundation Partner to Raise Awareness and Help Prevent Heart Condition Disproportionately Impacting African Americans

Mar 18, 2013, 09:00 ET from Heart Rhythm Society

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CHICAGO, March 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- To help Chicago residents understand their risk for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC), and the Monarch Awards Foundation are hosting an education event urging consumers, particularly African Americans, to "Arrest the Risk." Responsible for more than 350,000 U.S. deaths each year, SCA occurs when the heart suddenly and unexpectedly stops beating. Approximately 95 percent of SCA cases result in death; however, it is proven most deadly in African Americans. To help reduce the incidence of SCA among African Americans, an "Arrest the Risk" free community Heart Health Talk will be held on March 23, 2013, at Mather's - More than a Cafe Chicago location on E. 83rd Street.

Led by Dr. Marlon E. Everett, an ABC member and interventional cardiologist at Associated Cardiovascular Physicians in the Chicagoland area, the informational session will include:

  • The difference between SCA versus a heart attack
  • SCA risk factors such as family heart history, an abnormal heart rate or rhythm, or fainting episodes of unknown cause
  • Tips on how to talk to a doctor and loved ones about SCA

Dr. Everett attended medical school at The Chicago Medical School and his cardiology training was completed at the University of Chicago hospitals.

"I can't stress enough the importance of African Americans talking to their doctor about SCA and their family heart history," said Dr. Everett. "Chicago residents are a very tight and supportive community, which is one of the reasons I chose to build my practice in the area. By understanding the risk factors for SCA and seeking available treatments for prevention, we can make a big difference within our own families and in the larger African American community."

Also at the March 23rd event, SCA-risk patient Tamara Hill-Garner will tell her personal story about losing her sister suddenly at 26 due to heart-related complications. Hill-Garner, a licensed clinical social worker in Chicago, will share what her family learned about their own heart health. She will offer advice to inspire others and share the steps she took to take control of her own heart health.

"The best thing I can do, in memory of my sister, and to protect her children and mine, is to share our story," said Hill-Garner.

Registration for the free event is available by calling 773-488-2801.

A national survey released in October 2012 by HRS indicates lack of awareness and treatment of SCA puts African Americans at greater risk of death from the condition. Ninety-percent of African Americans say their doctor has never talked to them about SCA. In addition, though treatment guidelines recommend implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) as the standard of care for patients at risk for SCA, studies show that the use of these devices and other innovative cardiovascular technologies are less common among African Americans. As a result, a large percentage of high-risk patients are not receiving these treatments, leading to a greater likelihood of death.

Launched in October 2012, the "Arrest the Risk" campaign aims to reduce the inequalities in SCA incidents amongst African Americans and increase the dialogue between patients and physicians. The initiative is designed to overcome the barriers to proper diagnosis and treatment of SCA through educational resources, an SCA risk assessment available on, as well as a powerful public service announcement featuring Shaun Robinson, Emmy-award winning journalist and weekend co-anchor and correspondent for "Access Hollywood."

The educational talk is part of a 10-city initiative to educate at-risk communities and provide resources regarding risk factors and recommended treatments to prevent SCA. HRS and ABC are working with healthcare providers and African American community leaders in nine others cities with at-risk populations including Atlanta; Baltimore; Dallas; Detroit; Jackson, Miss.; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; Oakland, Calif.; and Washington, D.C.

About the Heart Rhythm Society
The Heart Rhythm Society is the international leader in science, education and advocacy for cardiac arrhythmia professionals and patients, and the primary information resource on heart rhythm disorders. Its mission is to improve the care of patients by promoting research, education and optimal health care policies and standards. Incorporated in 1979 and based in Washington, DC, it has a membership of more than 5,100 heart rhythm professionals in more than 72 countries around the world.

About the Association of Black Cardiologists
Founded in 1974, the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. (ABC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to champion the elimination of cardiovascular disease disparities among minorities through education, research and advocacy. The ABC is comprised of an international membership of 2,500 medical professionals, community health advocates, corporations and institutions that fund innovative research, promote stronger public policies and provide lifesaving tools to prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. To learn more or to get involved, visit

About Mather's--More Than a Cafe
With three Chicago locations, Mather's--More Than a Cafe has become a favorite neighborhood place where older adults can eat delicious food, participate in educational or wellness programs, and engage in fun activities that keep them coming back for more. Mather's--More Than a Cafe is a part of parent organization Mather LifeWays, which is committed to making neighborhoods better places to live, work, learn, contribute, and play.

Media Contact:
Kennesha Baldwin
Heart Rhythm Society

Amber LaCroix 

SOURCE Heart Rhythm Society